NPC: Shiraamer and Chuck
Location: Shatison Starport
1125.8.7 - 14:30 Standard Imperial Time, 14:28 Standard Vland Time, 14:18 Local Time
With Lakir, Slade, Vlad, and Gvarokh back on board and their gear stowed, the crew has already begun to go through pre-flight procedures. Slade immediately heads to Engineering where Vincent is there warming the power plant from standby to maximum. Slade relieves Vincent who then heads to the bridge to monitor progress from the main computer. The captain has already coordinated her flight plan from the starport to 100D with the control tower.
Lakir asks the captain about picking up some more gear for the ship that he spec'd out while shopping, but she declines. "We're fine Lakir. I don't want to delay any further. If we really need something, we can hit Ashki after Umilikha. It's a tech level 13 world too." She indicates that the conversation is over and Lakir leaves the bridge.
Shiraamer and Chuck check all systems from the bridge while Lakir, Simrii, and Vlad strap themselves in. Gvarokh directs power from the fusion plant to the maneuver drive.
There is a slight wobble as the contra-grav is engaged. Thrusters fire, lifting the Miishakaal from the starport floor. The ship slowly taxis and heads through the opening in the station wall. Once clear, main thrusters fire, putting distance between the Miishakaal and Shatison. The ship accelerates away at 1G.
Shiraamer orders, "Ok Gvarokh, I want a 3 hour burn. We'll coast from there to the 100D point. That should mark us for 3 hours, 37 minutes, 19 seconds of flight time to jump."
"Aye aye captain."
"Two minutes to jump." The crew once again straps themselves into their seats. Captain Shiraamer dims the lights.
Shiraamer asks, "Slade, how we doing?"
"All good. We're ready down here."
"Let's do it," Shiraamer orders.
Gvarokh engages the jump drive. For those with a view on the bridge, the stars ahead suddenly shift blue. A hole in space opens up directly in front of you. The familiar colors of jumpspace appear in the hole: chunks of white plasma etched with jagged blobs of pink shot through with electric bolts of neon blue all surrounded in a halo of overcast gray. It's no wonder people get sick. Effortlessly, the Miishakaal glides right in.
Shiraamer passes out complements, "Nice turnaround there on Hrun. Nice, smooth transactions all the way round. Let's hope things continue to go that well on Umilikha." She notices the time. "It looks to be about dinner time. I have to hear about the shopping expedition."
Characters: Lakir and Vincent
Location: Vinny's Quarters
1125.9.1 - 10:30
Vincent is returning to his room after breakfast when Lakir tracks him down. "Hey Vinny."
"What's up Lakir?"
"I've got a weapon's sim plug for your gauss rifle."
"I'll trade it to you for some help on my PDA upgrade."
They return to Vinny's quarters where Lakir shows him the PDA and the upgrade kit that will transform it into a veritable hand computer. Vinny estimates that it will take him an hour or so to do. Lakir leaves him to it.
Lakir returns to find that Vincent has been successful. Lakir gives him the weapon's sim plug for his gauss rifle. "You'll have to talk to Simrii about gettin' time on his unit. He's the only one of us whose got one."
Lakir then goes on to explain how he wants his PDA to interact with the ship's main frame and the crew's 50k comm units. Vincent explains that the PDA already does interact with the comm network and the ship's main frame through the ship's network. Access to various functions is another matter. Only the captain can authorize that.
"No problem, I'm off to see her next..."
Lakir then explains that he'd like the laser sight on his gauss pistol to interface with the HUD on his vacc suit. Vincent examines the gauss pistol and the accompanying laser sight. He explains to Lakir that the laser sight has no external communications function. "It doesn't talk. The sight just projects a beam. And this model will tell you the range to the target, assuming that the beam doesn't get scattered on the return. It needs a wireless comm package. Then I should be able to connect the two."
"Great. Capn' say's we'll be hittin' Ashki after this jump. If you can spec the kit, I'll see if I can't locate it..."
"Shouldn't be a problem. I'll have it for you by tomorrow."
"Thanks!" Lakir leaves to go see the captain.
Location: Captain's Quarters
1125.9.1 - 12:00
After he's concluded his visit with Vinny, Lakir heads down the hall to the captain's quarters. He buzzes the door and receives permission to enter.
"Hello Lakir. What can I do for you?"
"Picked this up for you while shopping." He hands her a weapons sim plug for her snub pistol, "You'll have to talk to Simrii about borrowing his weapons sim for practice though."
"Thank you Lakir. How much do I owe you for it?"
"No cost, Capn'...the boys and I couldn't decide what colour utility vest to getcha', so we settled on this instead. 'Sides, got a freebie shotgun plug for a bulk order."
"Oh I couldn't. In fact I still owe you money for the ammo you picked up for me. Please Lakir. Let me pay you back."
"Nah... you don't owe me nothin' Capn'.... I finally found a place I can fit in...sort' a..."
"Well, you've proven yourself an asset Lakir."
"You might want to do the Miishakaal a good turn though, an mabe' look at whats goin' ta go bad on a hot recovery, like what we got now. I been doin' this shit for awhile, and there ain't no profit in a hot recovery gone sideways, 'cept less you got all the angles covered. The target world for the recovery sucks, from the orbital down to the surface, and we're way into unknown territory, with jack in the way of connections you're used to dealing with. I've been here, done that, and I don't like it. You may want to consider the ugly aspect of this job, if you ain't already. Any angle or edge we can get before TOT will help, and I'm thinking endurance and agility, particularly on the fire power end may come in handy. Just my Cr.02 worth...."
She blinks a couple of times, apparently not expecting this advice, "I'm no mercenary Lakir. While I realize that Mersshon doesn't seem trustworthy, I'm not expecting to burst onto the scene at Theton with all guns blazing. We wouldn't stand a chance. Mersshon has to realize that too otherwise he'd have hired some mercenaries. I think that he's hoping for a bit more discretion. Something under the radar."
"Discretion's great Cap'n...I just hope it play's out that way.."
"I do too. Anything else?"
"Yeah, I still want that metal working rig for the ship, I'm die'in to replace my lost barrel extension..." he grins, "and those extended endurance tanks for our Vaccs....the destination list for the next few jumps doesn't exactly engender a warm fuzzy..."
"I'll consider it. I've got to keep enough cash on hand in case we have any more surprise repairs like we did with the fuel purification plant. I don't want to come up short."
Lakir informs the captain that Vinny has upgraded his PDA to a handcomp. Now that it's capabilities have been increased, he's hoping to be granted access to other ship's systems.
"Like what?" she asks.
"Not for me....hell, I just schlep cargo. It's for the real guys on the command side, like Vinny and Gvarokh, for access to the ships sensors and fire control, and Slade for his pre-flight warm up while he's away from the ship. Also, I wanna' work a prog with Vinny and Vlad...see if we can't get some FO action happn' tween Vlad and the ship' laser turrets..."
"Well, Gvarokh already has a hand computer and Vinny has a laptop." She smiles, then adds, "And Slade is too paranoid at the thought of someone being able to fire up the engines without actually being in engineering. The access permissions you're looking to add to your PDA aren't device driven. The biometric protocols are saved in the system, not on individual devices. If they were, that would be too risky. Say the biometric protocols were saved on your PDA or Gvarokh's hand computer for that matter. Then, if those devices were stolen, or hacked, like what happened to Vincent, then those biometric protocols could be captured, copied, and used to steal the ship."
She smiles again, "I learned all this from a cute, computer nerd several years ago when I had to have Miisha's computer systems completely overhauled. We'd been hacked by a marketing firm and overrun by so much advertising spam and spyware that the ship couldn't function.
"Anyway, was I able to clear things up?"
"No prob Capn'...cept this is a different gig we're pullin' now. Every edge is goin't ta count, and I figure ya might want ta examine the worst case scenario, even for 'temp prog access' through somthin'a bit more mobile- hell, I'll give it up to who ever you want , particularly through the recovery part of the op. Shit goes sideways, and we got no access to the mainframe, or the fire power, or to 'light the fires', and we could end up holding the dirty end. Seein as how you haven't divulged any of your plan for the recovery portion, I just want to make sure you got all the angles covered, boss....after all, it is your op..."
She holds her hand up to her forehead, "You don't understand Lakir. As of right now, Gvarokh can already access vital ship functions through your PDA, assuming that your upgrade includes a biometric reader. His access parameters are stored in the ship's mainframe. He could login from just about anywhere if I downgraded the ship's security levels."
"Nah...I forgot the biometric reader, but I'll see if I can't pick one up on Ashki."
"As for my plan for the recovery portion, I don't have one. Our instructions are to meet Oda in some bar in the orbital city of Limii and bring her home without drawing any attention to ourselves." She is clearly irritated at this point, "Since when did this become a hostage rescue operation?"
"It hasn't, and I hope it don't....It's been a long time since I've been this deep in RVE space, and I guess I'm just twitchy...Sorry ta bug ya Capn'"
She exhales a sigh. "It's ok Lakir. But don't forget we both have vilani blood running through our veins. These people aren't totally alien." She adds, "Don't think for a minute that I don't appreciate your expertise. If things go sour at Theton, then we'll put your skills to the test. Talk to you later."
Lakir turns and leaves.
Characters: Gvarokh, Vincent, & Lakir
NPC: Shiraamer and Chuck
Location: Crew Lounge
1125.9.5 - 20:00
With the dinner plates cleared away, the five of you sit down for the weekly poker game. The captain frowns, "No Vlad, Simrii, or Slade?"
She's answered with shrugs.
"I think he's tired from today's workout," Lakir offers.
"Well, that's disappointing." She commences to dealing.
"All three of them lost money last week," Chuck points out. "And Simrii was the only one of them who won any money the previous time. Maybe they're sittin' on their paychecks right now."
"Well, if that's the case," the captain replies, "I'd rather we play for peanuts, chocobites, or something similar. I like having all the crew together for one night to socialize." Her play during the evening lacks its usual enthusiasm, though she does relatively well.
Vincent's luck continues to suck. His play is absolutely abysmal. He gets psyched out on bluffs and overplays his hands. He's also sitting directly across from the captain and, as such, is often distracted.
After playing runner up in the previous two outings, Gvarokh is tonight's big winner. He can't help but smile with a full flash of teeth.
Gvarokh up $50.
Shiraamer up $25.
Chuck down $5.
Lakir down $30.
Vincent down $40.
NPC: Shiraamer and Chuck
Location: Miishakaal crew lounge
1125.9.7 - 10:30
With the last of the breakfast dishes cleared away, the captain calls the meeting to order, "Ok gentlemen we should be emerging from jumpspace sometime around 20:00. I'd like the turnabout on Umilikha to go as well as it did on Hrun. There isn't much to see here. It's a mining colony on a world that's still very geologically active. Most of the world is covered by molten lava. In fact, umilikha in vilani actually means: 'world of molten rock.' Nice, huh. There is one completely stable landmass down at the south pole. This is where the downport and all the planet's inhabitants are located.
"I don't expect to find much, if any, cargo to haul. I might consider doing some speculating on the various ores that these people mine and see if there might be anything of value for the people of Ashki, the next stop on our route."
Gvarokh says, "I agree that there is likely to be no cargo, but do you want me to try to find some anyway on our way in? Or do you want to just stick with speculative stuff?"
"Sure. Couldn't hurt to check for cargo."
"There is a naval base in the system so I expect to be boarded for another routine visual inspection.
"Umilikha's tech level is 11 and its law level is 4, which means that you can leave the ship armed with most types of firearms.
Vincent says, "Nah, let's get to work...."
"Ok then. Meeting adjourned."
Next: Arrival in the Umilikha System